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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Amazon's Top 100 Lists

I'm not sure why I did this, but I went through a bunch of Amazon's top 100 book lists to see how many of the books on them I had read.

For the top 100 overall, I have only read three: Dr. Seuss's Oh the Places You'll go; Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar; and What to Expect when You're Expecting.

Of the SF and Fantasy list: Martin's Game of Thrones (just the first novel; I know, I know--I do intend to read the rest of them, but they're just so much of a commitment); Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire, which I read more than 20 years ago; Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan, and that's it.

Of Children's books: Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games books (3); the Harry Potter books (2); the Eric Carle books (2); Guess How Much I Love You; Chicka Chicka Boom Bom; The Giving Tree; the Hobbit; Oh the places you'll go; and Where the Wild Things Are.

From the Fiction/Literature list: Vonnegut's Jail Bird; Game of Thrones again...and that's it. Why Jailbird, I wonder? It's not Vonnegut's best (that might be Cat's Cradle), so why is it there? I can understand why Sirens is on the SF list, though.

From the Comics list: Saga (3 volumes); Walking Dead (just the first compendium); Batman: Killing Joke; Watchmen; 1602; Dark Knight Returns; Batman: Year One; Winter Soldier; Batman and Son; V for Vendetta; Persepolis; Calvin and Hobbes; Understanding Comics; New Avengers Breakout; Maus; American Born Chinese.

I've read 0 of the mystery/thriller/suspense list.

Only 3 from Travel: Bryson's A Walk in the Woods and In a Sunburned Country, and Krakaur's Into the Wild.

So the comics list is the longest one for me. And I don't know what this Attack on Titan series is or why it's all over that list. Seriously, it's fully 10% of the comics list. I've never even heard of it. Star Wars takes up a lot of what's left.

From all this, I start to understand maybe why my own writing never gets published. I don't have a popular taste. I write stories for myself, and they're not what sells. I really expected to have read more of the SF list, but there are all sorts of books I've never heard of on it.

These books reflect what's new rather than what's determined to be of quality. Compared to the 23 of Locus' top 50 books that I've read. I've never been much of a list reader. I know people who have picked lists--say, the AFI top 100 films, or the Modern Library top 100 novels--and worked their way through them. I've been more inclined to try to get through all of a single author's work--Vonnegut, for example.

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